Saturday, August 19, 2017

Three 'handmade bombs' explode in Thaketa supermarket: official

Three suspected handmade bombs exploded in a supermarket in southern Yangon last night authorities said, although no casualties were reported.

Police evacuted shoppers and staff and sealed off the Capital hypermart in Thaketa township last night around 6pm following the blasts, which police attributed to homemade bombs. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet / The Myanmar TimesPolice evacuted shoppers and staff and sealed off the Capital hypermart in Thaketa township last night around 6pm following the blasts, which police attributed to homemade bombs. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet / The Myanmar Times

Security forces locked down the area with sniffer dogs after the blasts went off around 5:30pm at the Capital hypermart in Thaketa township.

"No one was injured in three small explosions this evening," Yangon regional social minister Naing Ngan Linn told AFP from the scene.

"According to initial inspections by security forces, they are handmade bombs. Soldiers and police are still inspecting the area now."

The explosions came hours after three civilians as well as five members of government forces were killed during a combined offensive by ethnic armed groups in Muse township in Shan State.

A spokesperson for one of the armed groups involved in the clashes, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, denied involvement in the Yangon explosions.

"We are men. We fight openly," said spokesman Phone Win Naing.

The blast comes days after authorities pledged to step up security at Yangon's Shwedagon pagoda, Buddhist Myanmar's most revered holy site, over concerns about terrorist attacks.

Local media reported increased security measures were put in place in response to ongoing violence in northern Rakhine state after coordinated attacks on border guard posts last month killed nine police officers.

Troops have poured into the area, mainly home to the Muslim Rohingya minority, killing dozens of people and displacing more than 30,000, according to UN estimates.